Sometimes, I try to run away from the voice in my head. It can be negative. Or more incessant than negative. To be clear, I am not hearing voices. Not in that way. I mean more my own internal dialogue. The anxious brother within this anxious brother.
A little voice that makes everything worse by reminding me of things that I have done, awkward moments from years ago. And it feels like there is so much material in storage. I try to distract myself by shaking my head, reasoning out the thoughts, and lately avoiding myself. The last one is new.
It would definitely be honest to say that I used to have low self-esteem. If you have read a few of my posts, I’m sure you can see how that developed and stayed with me for much of my life. However, as an adult, post-DACA, my self-image got a bit of a boost, of sorts.
For the past 5 years, I’ve felt the upswing; becoming employed, getting married, becoming more sociable. And yet, behind every thought, there is a fear that I am trying to outrun the past. And this becomes a reality, whenever, I find myself facing a familiar foe.
Anything that reminds me of the past (unemployment, depression, undocumented, being out of control, etc), puts me in a negative mental place. It feels like I am trapped in a different place. How many years until I rid myself of these things?
After bouncing from dead-end job to dead-end job, I finally quit my last job 7 months ago. I was burnt out, physically, emotionally, and MENTALLY. I was very sad all the time, and I decided that it was not worth it. I took whatever savings, 401k benefits and the like, and began to find my way to better. I don’t regret it.
Now I have a lot of time. I’ve had a lot of time over the past 7 months to figure myself out. I cringe at the millennial nature of this exploration. But, my mental health is important. It has taken a long time to get myself together. I was accustomed to just working and stressing dead-end customer service jobs that I had never taken the time to fully consider my own happiness. Now jobless, I could decide on getting to a place where I was pursuing a passion, rather than slowly dying on the inside every time I had to answer the work phone.
But I wasn’t sure where to start. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. What difference did I want to make? What did I want to accomplish? I wish I had gotten to this place before, not at 32. It seems so late for introspection. But that’s life. You get so distracted with one trauma, some hardship or fight that by the time you get to ask yourself, about yourself you feel lost.
I read blogs that said that its okay to not have answers for everything. I read another that said it’s okay to not have figured yourself out by 30. But that’s not really me. I have always been the student that did all his homework, plus the extra credit. The nerd that entered the math and science fair, every year. I was supposed to be the kid that became somebody. And sometimes, if I’m being honest, I feel closer to a nobody, someone who may never accomplish anything substantial. I use my social life to compensate for that. I tell myself I am happy in spite of the shortcomings. I tell myself that other people aren’t happier than me.
I have a great wife(+8 points), great friends(+4 points), my degree(+2 points), my blog (+25 points) and sometimes even an idea of where I want to be (+27 points). I ponder that I may go back to school (+30 points), if I can figure out, how to pay for it (-200 points). I can’t shake the feeling of being astray. So much so that a few months back, I started avoiding the mirrors in my house. When I am going out, or on my way to hang out, I’m fine. But If I am just here, with myself, I prefer not to have to look at myself. I don’t want to ask the person in the mirror, what are you doing? where are you going? why are you, you?
I’m sure I love myself. Or rather constantly on a journey to full acceptance.
And still, without that affirmation, I have so many feelings for the person looking back at me. Rather than think about it, I just leave the medicine cabinet door open and try to avoid looking directly at any other mirrors.
Am I uncomfortable with myself? Sometimes. Sometimes, I feel like a weirdo and every past instance of it floods back, and I grimace and look away.
Am I lost? Sometimes. I really don’t know where I am heading in life. I feel like I’m not a success yet.
Am I disappointed? Sometimes, I really thought I was going to do great things! Maybe I will. (It feels less likely every year)
And still, I have so much to be grateful for. I know I’m not alone. I have tried to stop measuring my life in terms of money. I stopped comparing myself to other people. I try to accept myself, my faults, my sexuality, my mannerisms, my weirdnesses. (I’m getting better). But it only works some of the time. The rest of the time, I just don’t want to answer the guy in the mirror. Back off bruh!